LACEY, Wash. -- More than $34 million in disaster assistance is now approved for Washington individuals, families and businesses with damages from the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides Dec. 1-17, 2007, according to officials with Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
More than 9,800 people have registered with FEMA for assistance. Only one week is left until the Feb. 7th deadline. To be eligible for consideration for federal/state assistance, applicants must call FEMA or go online and register by that date. All SBA loan applications also must be completed and returned or postmarked by Feb. 7th.
Individual and Households Assistance to the designated counties is shown below at COB Jan. 29, 2008.
|County||Total Registrations||Amount Approved|
|Grays Harbor County:||3,515||$1,501,742|
The SBA has approved $12,492,200 for individual loans and $3,813,500 for loans to businesses, for a total of $16,305,700 of approved loans.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges Washington residents and small business owners in the 10 designated counties who suffered damage to apply for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free number: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday (TTY 1-800-462-7585).
Additionally, those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance by going online to www.fema.gov, which is available around the clock. Persons already registered can call the FEMA Helpline at this number and get updates on their cases.
Beware of Fraud
Disaster officials recommend residents affected by the disaster continue to be alert to potential fraud by dishonest individuals taking advantage of the disaster situation.
"FEMA officials will not ask for bank information unless an individual is signing up for direct deposit," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. "People sometimes try to take advantage of residents affected by a disaster, so caution is advised."
All FEMA inspectors and SBA personnel are required to carry photo identification, and there is no such thing as a FEMA-approved private contractor. State and federal officials have already cautioned victims to check credentials and to be wary of sharing financial or personal information.
"The state and FEMA have made it clear that fraud and other attempts to take advantage of disaster victims will not be tolerated," said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin. "Just as in a non-disaster situation, residents who suspect fraud should contact local authorities."
FEMA encourages anyone who believes they may have witnessed fraudulent activity to report it immediately to local authorities or call the Washington Attorney General's Consumer Hotline, 1-800-551-4636 or the FEMA Fraud Line, 1-800-323-8603.
Those beginning the rebuilding process can get tips on hiring contractors and how to avoid contractor fraud by going online at www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/contractor.shtm.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.